The energy along our roads
In the German pilot region Rotenburg (Wümme), a specialised roadside maintenance agency manages mainly through tendering the vegetation along the federal and county roads. The work includes cutting of branches, dead wood, stem budding, coppicing (cutting to trunk), rejuvenation and removal of inferior trees. Today, nearly 100 % of the material is used for energy production. In this pilot experience on 15 km of road 2,600 m3 wood chips were produced and then sold locally as well as to Denmark for 38 €/t (80 €/t dry matter; 12.5 €/m³).
This production chain is based on an efficient and commercially operated process. However, factors like short-term responsibilities of the agency (e.g. winter service) and small-scale jurisdictions (different owners for road, bike lane and field) complicate the planning. Cooperation with the assigned third companies may also take additional time when, for example, workload is high during cutting season and several assignments are performed simultaneously. In this pilot experience, this resulted in a stop of work at short notice of which the maintenance agency was uninformed.
There is a tendency that the maintenance agency does more tendering and controlling, and less actual LCMW because it is more economical to outsource the work. This influences the future staff organization and rises the importance of better communication with third companies.
Author: Aline Clalüna